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What is Callicarpa Bodinieri?

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  • Written By: J.M. Densing
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Callicarpa bodinieri is a deciduous shrub known for its attractive berries, which are a bright purple color and last for a long time. The common name for Callicarpa bodinieri is in fact Bodinier Beautyberry, inspired by the look of the berries. Its long lasting color makes it a popular garden plant for decorative purposes, and it is easily grown by gardeners in temperate climates.

The native area of Callicarpa bodinieri is China, however it is planted by gardeners in temperate climates all over. It is admired by many for the bright, lasting color of the berries, which enhance a garden's beauty in fall or early winter. It thrives in a climate with distinct seasons, tolerating cold well, and doesn't grow as successfully in warmer areas.

Primarily an ornamental shrub, Callicarpa bodinieri usually grows to a height of approximately 6 to 8 feet (1.8 to 2.4 m), and it is often as wide as it is tall once it reaches its full height. The shrub has many slender branches, many if which grow reaching upward, giving the entire plant a v-shaped look narrower on the bottom and fuller on top. The green, large leaves grow in pairs directly opposite each other, have an oval shape with pointed ends, and have a slightly textured appearance due to the heavy veins.

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In the late summer, Callicarpa bodinieri produces pretty clusters of small pinkish or lavender flowers. In the fall, the small berries grow in large, densely packed clusters, with a glossy finish and bright purple or violet color. The berries remain on the branches for a while after the leaves fall off, providing winter color in the garden until they are finally eaten by birds or other animals.

Taking care of Callicarpa bodinieri in the garden is a simple process, as it is a relatively low-maintenance plant. It will grow well with a wide variety of soil types and qualities, as long as there is good drainage. It needs full sun to partial shade, but it produces the best berries when it is placed in full sun, and there is a long summer. It needs an average amount of water, but will survive drought conditions if they occur. To encourage the production of numerous colorful berries, it is recommended that it be fertilized monthly during the summer.

Callicarpa bodinieri is mainly used in the garden for borders, and occasionally in beds or for bird gardens. It is known to attract birds and butterflies, although the berries have a bitter taste and often aren't eaten by birds until other food sources are used up. In China, it is used as a medicinal herb and its American cousin, Callicarpa americana, is known to repel ticks and mosquitoes.

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